Can you introduce yourself briefly?
I’m called Tristan Shu, though my real name is Tristan Lebeschu, but my friends have always called me that and it stuck. I live in Lathuile at the end of Lake Annecy. I have been flying for 10 years and I have been a professional photographer for 12.
What were the milestones in your learning photography?
I’m self taught, I learnt through the Internet by reading articles and tutorials. I started with a disposable camera during my first season snowboarding in the Alps, to document the exploits of our group of friends. Then digital came along, and my passion for images has never ceased to increase. It was the resort Val d’Isere that gave me my first photo contract, I wasn’t even a pro at the time, tasking me with taking the photos for their annual brochure.
When did you get interested in paragliding photography and especially aerobatic paragliding?
I was quickly introduced to lots of specialists in the discipline, like Francois Bon, Antoine Montant and David Sougey, who have become very good friends. Through them I met lots of other acro pilots. Today I regularly shoot with the same pilots, all of who are acrobats: Maxime Chiron, Jim Nougarolles, Michael Regnier, Guillaume Galvani and JB Chandelier. They are very good friends; we have total confidence in each other. Then there are also all my Annecy friends, there’s a great atmosphere in Doussard for flying. I think that I’ve always shot acro paragliding, almost since I started photographing. Today paragliding is one of my principal passions and an inexhaustible source of photographic inspiration.
Who are the photographers that inspire you?
Thanks to the Internet and to social media we have very easy access to photographers the world over. And I am always knocked out by the number of extremely talented people who take marvelous photographs. I don’t really have any names in particular to give you of those who inspire me, they are principally my friends and the models I work with who inspire me. I love creative people who overflow with ideas. Photography is, for me, magnificent team work where everyone brings their piece to the puzzle. My best shots have been taken with friends and are often the fruit of passionate discussions before going out to shoot.
What equipment do you use?
For 7 or 8 years I exclusively used Canon equipment. I sold it all to go to Nikon 4 years ago because the image sensors are much better, and I need the best sensors possible for my photographic style. And since, I’ve photographed a lot on Fuji equipment; I love their compact high performance backs, perfect for paragliding. I’ve always loved wide angle and I regularly shoot that with paragliding, and also polarizing filters since we often suffer with the light – it’s not easy to go flying during the golden hour or at sunset.
Do you have a memory of a shoot that you would like to share with us?
I think it was about 3 years ago, we got the idea with my little band of Doussard friends (Michael Regnier, Max Chiron, Jim Nougarolles and all the others…) to manage to take paragliding photos by flash at sunset. It was really complicated, we needed 2 tandems plus the solo pilots, huge logistical organization. We all took off together at sunset in catabatic conditions like madmen for a 3 minute flight, and we did it nearly every evening; the dynamic and atmosphere in the team was such that most pilots, once their day of tandems was over, went back up in shuttle busses hired for the occasion to finish their day with a last very complicated flight. But it ended up working, and that’s clearly thanks to magnificent energy and motivation of everyone. I love paragliding for that, it’s a sport which abounds with passionate people always motivated to go flying.
Have you specific tips or advice for taking pictures of aerobatic paragliding?
Like all the other extreme sports disciplines, you have to understand the activity well to know what is going to happen and what will come out well in photos. I think you also have to discuss and communicate with the pilots so that everyone understands what needs to be done for the photo to come out. It’s not at all simple, but it’s so good when you take a good acro photo.
You’re a photographer primarily of outdoor activities. Can you tell us of the special relationship that you have with these activities?
I love being outside, and also exchanging with people. Discussions between the passionate, exchanging and practicing these sports. Photography brings me all that, and nourishes my intellectual appetite for endlessly differing challenges.
What are your plans or ideas for 2016?
I bubble with ideas, it’s more a question of finding time to do them all, but we have several trips panned together with my close friend JB Chandelier, and when we’re together it always goes fast. We have an ideas box that seems bottomless because we continue to add more than we have time to get round to.
The final word
Flying is man’s oldest dream. Now we can do it thanks to paragliding and it’s an absolutely extraordinary sensation at every level and in every discipline (cross country, soaring, acro…). And it’s a welcoming world which overflows with passionate people.
Internet links, website or specific gallery:
It is possible to see or to follow some of my projects on my personal website:
Site : www.tristanshu.com
lac d’Annecy, Haute Savoie, France © www.TristanShu.com FB: http://www.facebook.com/TristanShuPhotography
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Contact: Flore Magnier contact(at)wpac-annecy-2016.com